The Hepworth Wakefield Garden is open!
The Hepworth Wakefield Garden, designed by internationally acclaimed landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith, is a beautifully landscaped garden free for all to enjoy.
As well as Stuart-Smith’s distinctive planting, there are outdoor sculptures by Sir Michael Craig-Martin and Barbara Hepworth. Two of Hepworth’s first public commissions have been reunited for the first time in 70 years in The Hepworth Wakefield Garden, as part of the Barbara Hepworth: Art & Life exhibition. With thanks to our installation partner, Mtec, and our insurance partner, Hiscox.
The Hepworth Wakefield Garden Café is also now open, serving take away hot and cold drinks, fresh cakes and snacks.
Tom Stuart-Smith’s design draws inspiration from its unusual setting between 19th-century red-brick mills and a 21st-century art gallery, edged by the River Calder. It echos the striking, angular shapes of the David Chipperfield-designed gallery while harnessing a naturalism that reflects Barbara Hepworth’s deep connection to the landscape.
Find out about the story of The Hepworth Wakefield Garden here.
Sculpture in the garden
Ascending Form (Gloria), 1958
Wakefield Permanent Art Collection (The Hepworth Wakefield), Donated by Eric and Jean Cass through the Contemporary Art Society 2010
The two diamond shapes in Ascending Form (Gloria) can be seen as representing natural forms, with the one growing organically out of the other, or as a reference to hands coming together in prayer.
One of her most frequently recurring subjects was the standing form, which she related to the feeling of a human figure in the landscape.
Pitchfork (Yellow), 2013
Sir Michael Craig-Martin
Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian
This 11ft yellow pitchfork stands tall amongst the trees in the garden. It is taken from a series of giant and brightly coloured painted steel sculptures that resemble commonplace objects.
Appearing like drawings in the air, Craig-Martin’s deceptively simple sculptures pose questions about the role that objects play in our everyday lives.
Hear Michael Craig-Martin describe his sculpture in this short film.
Turning Forms, 1950-1
On loan from Hertfordshire County Education Authority
A highly innovative work made of white-painted concrete on a steel armature, Turning Forms was a motor-driven kinetic sculpture which revolved on a rotating plate every two minutes. Recalling earlier Constructivist kinetic sculptures, the sculpture visually embodied the Festival of Britain’s celebration of science, technology and industrial design.
Turning Forms was commissioned for the Thameside Restaurant, which was designed by the architect Jane Drew and located on the South Bank. After the Festival, the sculpture was moved to St Julian’s School in St Albans (now the Marlborough Science Academy), but it has never since revolved as it was originally intended to.
In October 2020 a major programme of conservation began on the sculpture and it is displayed for the first time since this work was completed at The Hepworth Wakefield.
Contrapuntal Forms, 1950-1
Harlow Art Trust: presented by Harlow Development Corporation 1953
Ten feet in height, Contrapuntal Forms was the largest sculpture Hepworth had attempted at the time and marked the first time that she took on permanent assistants. Carved from two monumental blocks of Irish blue limestone, the sculpture shows two separate abstract figures ‘blended into one carved and rhythmic form’ (Barbara Hepworth, 1952).
At the Festival, Contrapuntal Forms was sited near the Dome of Discovery and Skylon on London’s South Bank. When the Festival of Britain closed, the Arts Council presented the sculpture to Harlow New Town in Essex. In common with many of the New Towns, Harlow acquired and commissioned works of contemporary sculpture for its civic spaces. Contrapuntal Forms was transferred to the Glebelands housing estate, where it has remained ever since under the care of Harlow Art Trust.
In bloom - September
Pennisetum ‘Fairy Tails’
September sunshine sparkles through the fluffy flowers of this fountain grass. Pennisetum prefers a sunny spot with well-drained soil. As a deciduous perennial grass the old foliage can be cut back in February or March each year before the plant sends up its new green shoots.
Miscanthus ‘Ferner Osten’
A vigorous perennial grass with tall narrow leaves and soft golden-pink plumes in autumn. Miscanthus quickly forms a big clump and provides beautiful structure long into the winter. As a tough-stemmed, deciduous grass with a dense crown, we cut it back to the base with a hedge trimmer in early March just before the new green shoots appear.
Eurybia x herveyii synonym Aster macrophyllus ‘Twilight’.
Covered in silvery, lilac flowers with yellow centres, this Michaelmas-daisy blooms from late-August onwards. Along with many plants in the Asteraceae family this perennial has recently had a name change and whereas it used to be called Aster macrophyllus ‘Twilight’, its new name is Eurybia x herveyii.
An excellent perennial for late summer colour, this aster does not suffer with mildew which troubles some asters and it fills an area quickly.
As winter comes the flowering stems will dry into dainty silver stars.
Origanum laevigatum ‘Herrenhausen’
This long flowering, richly purple perennial is an ornamental variety of the culinary herb oregano. The leaves don’t have the same herbal aroma as Oregano vulgare which we cook with, however this variety is very popular with pollinators. Rough wiry stems emerge in spring from a matt of glossy green leaves and clusters of papery-pink flowers open from dark purple calyces. The species Origanum laevigatum originates from rocky areas in Turkey, Syria and Cyprus and so this plant likes a sunny spot with free draining soil and is well suited to planting at the front of a border.
Diary of a Cultural Gardener
Help Katy care for The Hepworth Wakefield Garden
We are raising £10,000 to help our Cultural Gardener, Katy Merrington, look after The Hepworth Wakefield Garden.
As a living composition, the Garden requires daily, labour-intensive care and attention to help it grow and develop. We need your help to ensure the garden is maintained by raising funds to support ongoing costs such as the purchase the necessary quantities of composted bark mulch, replacement plants, new bulbs for next year, and a pallet truck to help Katy move the heavy loads around the garden.
Any gift, no matter the size, makes a real difference. Please join our campaign by donating here.